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Professor Quippy: Penalty psychosis prevention

Professor QuippyAs an ex-goalkeeper in the beautiful game of football (soccer for you North Americans), I was interested to see that there is something you can do to improve your odds of stopping a penalty shot.

Actually, I never found penalty-kick situations that stressful, because everyone knew I had an infinitesimally small chance of stopping the ball. (I had a slightly better chance in other situations, but truth be told, I was never the greatest keeper.) But some of my peers could really go off their heads when confronted with a penalty kick situation.

Poor old Jack “Bangers” Bofferston once stripped off his shorts and tied them around his eyes, hoping to psyche-out the kickers. He only managed to be one of the first sportsmen to catch jock-itch in his ears (this was in the 60s), and the opposing team still got all five penalties in the net.

But now researchers at the University of Hong Kong, China, and Vrije University in Amsterdam in the Netherlands have discovered a way to increase the keeper’s odds slightly.

You can learn about this new cunning ploy at the New Scientist website.